Number – 5866
Name – Rotor Rescue
Theme – CREATOR
Year – 2010
Minifigs – None
Pieces – 149
Price – £9.99 GBP
Links: Brickset, Peeron, BrickLink, Shop@Home
Information from LEGO shop@home:
There’s no need to fear when this heroic mountain rescue helicopter is on the job! With working rotors and a back ramp, it also includes instructions for rebuilding the pieces into an exciting air show bi-plane or a high-octane speed boat. A great 3-in-1 building experience!
- *Helicopter to the rescue! Build it, then transform into a bi-plane or speed boat!
*Rotors on the helicopter rotors really spin!
Creative Child's 2010 Preferred Choice Award
I’ve never really been a huge fan of vehicles, but while building the three boats in the builds in 5770 Lighthouse Island, I discovered a new appreciation for them. In fact, because building those boats had been so much fun and because I like the “3 in 1” aspect of CREATOR sets, when I saw this set in the LEGO store I was absolutely intrigued and had to have it. So here’s my experience building the three models in the set 5866 Rotor Rescue.
It’s really quite a small box, which is obviously good environmentally, and the scene on the front simply shows the main build of the helicopter with effects to imply the rotors are spinning, along with two very small pictures of the alternate builds, and the “3 in 1” logo signifying that all three models can be built with the contents of the box. Considering the three models all reflect speed and power and “daring-do” the box art isn’t really that exciting. I appreciate that the box is small but adding in a mountain scene or a scene of a turbulent sea and sky would have added interest to the box front.
The back of the box shows all three models at a more comparable size, and all three have added effects to indicate their respective swooshing, or spray in the case of the boat. Once again, however, there is a bit of a lack of environment around the models to help better put them in context. I again think this is likely due to the box size and thus limited space, and TLG would want the models to stand out, plus all three models are somewhat unrelated in terms of function and thus environment.
The sides of the box each show a small picture of an alternate build along with the multi-lingual compulsory information and as a result are a little plain, really.
The box top, true to all CREATOR sets, has a full list of the inventory in picture form. As there are no minifigs in this set, which are often used to denote scale, instead LEGO have used a dark bluish grey droid body. Or more specifically a dark bluish grey brick, round 2x2x2 robot body – with bottom axle holder. I always find the inventory picture on the box useful, as I imagine others do too. One can see exactly which pieces are to be found inside the box before buying, and it is perhaps a shame that this is only really a feature of CREATOR sets.
There are two instruction booklets, both not much smaller than the box and fortunately I discovered mine in good condition. There are no stickers. The first instruction booklet is purely for the primary build – the Mountain Rescue Helicopter – and it shows a very similar scene to the front of the box. The instructions themselves are clear and simple, even to the point of having a part call-out of one piece and just picturing that one piece.
The back of the instructions indicates that you can search for more information and further building instructions for this set from creator.LEGO.com. It is heartening to me that TLG are always looking for further ways to arrange a set amount of LEGO parts into a new model and then sharing those models for free with the public at large. This, I feel, reflects a worthy desire by TLG to help increase its customers’ creativity without attracting profit.
The main instructions also include a page showing the inventory of the set in full, always a useful page to have, especially if you’re not the kind of person who keeps the box. Plus as it is presented on a flat page, the inventory is clearer than that on the box top, and provides useful future reference. Please click the picture for a high resolution image.
The second booklet contains only instructions for the two alternate builds, and the front shows a simple picture with these two models powering through the air and sea respectively. Again the instructions are clear and simple, and involve part call-outs and clear diagrams for the correct placement of pieces.
The back of the second booklet depicts the final step in building the third model, the Power Boat, and demonstrates the parts call-outs that are used in the instructions. As you can see, the diagrams are clear, and make use of insets to clarify the positioning of smaller parts.
Naturally there’s LEGO inside the box too, 149 pieces of it according to the various links above, and they are packaged into three separate polybags. The contents of the three bags are overall not particularly sorted, except that the smaller pieces such as 1x1 round plates and cheese wedges are all found in the smallest polybag.
My OCD got the better of me so the contents are shown here by colour/size grouping. These are the contents of the two larger polybags mixed together. The red parts are mostly plates, slopes and wedges, but also include a 2x2 curved top brick, which is not uncommon but noteworthy.
The yellow parts are also mostly plates and slopes, with some bricks in addition. There’s also a reasonable number of inverted yellow slopes.
The other larger parts are from the black-and-white spectrum and include a nice trans-black windscreen with some trans-black 1x2 bricks. Additionally the dark grey droid bodies and 2x2x2 cones are useful.
The smaller parts (from the smallest polybag) include a good amount of light bluish grey headlight bricks and dark bluish grey 1x2 jumper plates. There’s also a number of cheese wedges in various hues and a good amount of 1x1 and 1x2 white tiles. Overall, I think that there are quite a few good pieces for detailing, really, especially given the relatively small size of the set.
The Main Build – Mountain Rescue Helicopter
The parts call out and instructions are very straightforward, making the build itself very straightforward. There are some unexpectedly interesting techniques used, specifically the SNOT construction of the helicopter’s nose which was quite fun to do, and these combine to form a good shape for the helicopter overall. In this view you can see that interesting details, such as the winch hook, have been added to the small model making it more realistic. This, I think, along with the overall shape, marks it out as a working helicopter, rather than one flown for leisure.
On the opposite side there’s a searchlight for seeking out lost explorers which is very simply applied by insertion into a headlamp brick. There are no side doors to the model, instead there is an opening through which the rescued can be winched and the rescuers can lean out to direct the searchlight. The use of the red and yellow colour scheme is also quite fitting – red and yellow are quite common for rescue helicopters, allowing them to be seen better, and the colours work well together. The way the red parts form the nose and top sections of the helicopter, including the tail, with yellow providing the basis for the main body, works very nicely and adds to the streamlined nature of the model. The use of the 1x2 yellow grill bricks on either side add further texture to the model, implying vents on the side of the helicopter. On this side you can also better see the tail rotor, which is detailed similarly to the main rotor with white tiles. The size of the tail rotor is just right compared to the large main rotor on the top, and it also freely rotates.
The front view shows how slimline the model is, and affords a better view of the SNOT built nose. I very much like the way the front section of the nose curves up to where it meets the SNOT applied 2x2x2 curved red brick, as this adds greatly to a more convincing shape for the model,making it aerodynamic rather than squat and blocky. There’s also some nice detailing, in the form of dark grey cheese wedges, under the main rotor, which add to the overall aerodynamic effect. The construction of the powerful engines is simple but effective and they are attached to the main body by technic pins. This makes them poseable, which I’m not convinced real engines would be, and makes it easy during handling to spoil some of the symmetry of the model as they are inadvertently repositioned.
The main rotor, as mentioned, has white 1x2 tiles sited at its tips, so that when it is spun, there is a nice added effect from the blurring of the white tiles. I’m sure also that the added weight also adds momentum to the spin, as it spins very well rather than a few stuttering turns. I’ve tried to capture this on film:
The back demonstrates an interesting feature; that the rear of the helicopter opens to allow rescue folk to run in when it’s landed, or for the chucking-out of supplies when airborne. Again it is simply constructed and attached with the use of clips and a 1x2 handle, but this allows it to be opened and closed smoothly, and it is a feature that could just have easily been left out. The 1x2 light bluish grey grille tile gives the impression of footholds on the ramp, and just adds a little bit of detail.
Here’s a better view through that aperture showing the inside of the helicopter, which is sadly lacking in much detail, and indeed much space. Here the access ramp to the helicopter can be seen more clearly, showing its simple yet effective design. Additionally the yellow curves on either side of the base of the helicopter, despite not adding necessarily to the function of the craft, do add to its overall shape. Because I don’t have the engines straight, this picture gives the appearance to me of a googly-eyed monster with an open mouth.
The view from underneath highlights one of the downsides to this model – that there are no landing skids, or anything other than the base of the helicopter itself to rest on. It looks a little like a squashed bug, upside-down.
From this oblique view of the undercarriage you can see how the rear opening sits flush with the rest of the helicopter chassis, maintaining the smooth contours, as indeed do the inverted bluish grey slopes. The 2x6 light bluish grey plate, while not overtly visible when the helicopter is upright, jars a little when viewed from below. I accept that it adds stability and provides attachment for the yellow curves at the side which I like so much, but to me it looks a little odd.
Another down-side is that the model isn’t actually minifig scale, which is rather disappointing. The appearance of minifigs in recent CREATOR sets such as 5770 Lighthouse Island and 5771 Hillside House gave me hope that this set might be suitable for my minifigs, but it became apparent during the building process that this was not the case. To demonstrate I’ve enlisted the help of Pamela, a stunt minifig (and part-time beach babe) to demonstrate:
As you can see, even her lithe swimsuit figure won’t fit in the helicopter, and thoughts of sitting her on the edge can be dismissed too, unfortunately, but her presence may help increase interest in the model, nonetheless.
With the main model built, these pieces are leftover:
Secondary Build – Air Show Bi-Plane
The second model is a bi-plane based on those found at air shows, and admittedly I did have to mull it over for a while, until I conceded that it does indeed look like a stunt bi-plane.
Again the instructions are beyond simple to follow, and this is a quick build altogether. When built, the plane looks a little blocky and stunted, and the tail-fin looks a little odd, almost cartoonish.
In fact, it reminded me strongly of Dick Dastardly’s plane in “Catch the Pigeon”, what do you think?
A view over the top of the plane highlights a little of my unease with it. The top wing looks a little thin and feeble to me, and the use of the dark grey cheese grilles add a sort of “latched on” feel to the top wing, however these are interesting details, and some air-show biplanes do indeed have thinner top wings.
Here’s a real-life picture of an air show plane for comparison, and actually the rendition is quite accurate:
The cockpit is open, as it sometimes is in these little planes, and the propeller at the front has the same white tile detailing of the helicopter. The propeller also looks a little small for the plane, as if it alone wouldn’t be enough to get the plane off the ground, but then it does fit with the real-life versions.
The underside shows that, yet again, there isn’t any landing gear, so the plane is forced to skid along the ground on its belly. Assuming it can ever take off without wheels,that is. There's a large, flat area composed of the black 1x12 plates that would have been an ideal site for the addition of wheels, which would not only add more realism to the model, but also allow it to be displayed in a more natural position for a plane, rather than sitting flat on the ground.
A good point, for me, is the symmetry of this model. Although I appreciate detailing, there is something pleasantly symmetrical about this plane as these front and back views demonstrate.
And after all, this is a stunt plane, with a freely rotating propeller, so I’ve called in our stunt minifig, Pamela, to demonstrate a bit of wing-walking while the bi-plane is in flight.
But as she will also demonstrate, this model isn’t really minifig scale, either, with her unable to access the cockpit to fly the plane herself.
Overall it's a compact and blocky sort of plane, but a faithful rendition of an air-show bi-plane. Once built, these parts are left over:
Tertiary Build – Power Boat
Now the third model is a power boat, and I think it’s a rather nice one at that. I wonder if TLG have decided to switch around the secondary and tertiary builds, so that we don’t automatically think “Oh, that’s just all they could make with the set” as I found the same thing with my last CREATOR set 5771 – Lighthouse Island where I much preferred the tertiary build over the secondary.
The power boat is quite sleek and streamlined, with a red surface and splashes of yellow and black showing through underneath. The port side has a search-light similar to the helicopter, but this doesn’t strike me as a rescue vehicle.
The starboard side has no such detail, keeping the clean lines of the boat, and I really do like the change in shape of the thin boat as it progresses from back to front in its red/yellow/black layers.
The front shows that this boat is shaped similarly to a catamaran, but it has a smooth hull in front of the windshield, which gives off an air of power.
The back view shows that the boat really is streamlined, and almost symmetrical, and we can start to see the fabulously powerful engine that drives this beauty. There are a lot of details added onto the engine, which really made it interesting to build. The curve of the red slopes as they drop back towards the engine give the impression of the boat surging forwards.
Here’s a side view of the engine to show off all those lovely details. This section really adds substance to the boat.
A view over the top from the back gives another view of the overall shape of the boat, with its two jutting front hull sections.
And seeing as I like it so much, I can’t resist putting in another picture showing the beautiful angles of the front pieces. To me, it just flows really nicely.
The boat doesn’t need landing gear, it is a boat after all, so the underside is much less disappointing from that point of view, and it is marginally more interesting than the other builds. Marginally. At least you can see the underside of the engine, and more clearly appreciate the catamaran style of the boat.
As with the other two models, there is a down-side though, this glorious boat is not suitable for minifigs. I’ve called Pamela in yet again to demonstrate; she can quite happily sit on the side and sprawl across the hull in attempts to make you purchase it, but alas, even she isn’t quite small enough to fit into the driver’s seat. It is a shame.
As ever, there are bits and bobs left over.
Design 8/10 I really like the design of the helicopter, it looks the part and manages to be colourful without being gaudy. It has freely rotating propellers and an opening cargo hold, neither of which interfere with the smooth lines of the model. I really, really like the boat. I found the design dynamic and smooth, almost like an aquatic sports car, and the detailed engine added considerable oomph. The bi-plane was a less exciting model for me. It felt a little cartoonish and, although instantly recognisable, also felt a bit like an afterthought. Why have another aircraft when there’s already an exciting helicopter? Again I must wonder at the lack of landing gear for both aircraft.
Parts 8/10 There’s a good mix of useful parts in reasonable quantities in this set; headlamp bricks, brackets and jumper plates are always useful, plus there are two propellers. Given that there are only 149 pieces, and that they are limited to very few colours, overall there’s a high proportion of useful parts, even though there’s nothing really outstanding.
Build 7/10 None of the builds were difficult, but I found the unexpected SNOT build for the helicopter nose enjoyable and having the engine as a mini-build was fun, too. The builds for the bi-plane and power boat were both quick and uneventful.
Playability 7/10 The downside for playability is that none of the models are minifig scale. Having them minifig scale would dramatically increase the playability. As to other features, the helicopter has two freely rotating rotors and an opening cargo hold, while the bi-plane has a rotor you can spin. All three models are very swooshable. Very swooshable indeed.
Price 9/10 For the modest price of £9.99 GBP, this really strikes me as excellent value, as CREATOR sets often do - there’s an overall higher parts-per-piece ratio.
CREATOR sets to my mind hark back to one of the fundamental joys of LEGO i.e. taking a bunch of bricks and parts and creating multiple different builds with the same pieces. This set, for the most part, fits in with that very well. The bi-plane may not be a great model compared to the other two, but it’s still a good model in and of itself. For a rather reasonable price one gets a decent amount of useful bricks, and can build three interesting models which are overall well designed and pleasant to both build and look at. Even though these models are not minifig scale, they would still fit into a minifig world, adding detail and/or interest.
Thank you for reading, comments are always welcome.
High-Res pictures can be found on my flickr account.
Edited by Rufus, 14 July 2011 - 07:03 PM.